Brussels, 25 January 2019/ACP: The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Dr Fatou Bensouda, addressed the Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States on Thursday 24 January to express her profound gratitude for the ACP Group's contributions to the work of the International Criminal Court, with 51 out of 79 ACP States having ratified the ICC Rome Statute.

Chaired by the Ambassador Ammo Aziza Baroud of Chad, the session provided an opportunity for the Prosecutor to present the activities of the ICC Prosecutor's Office and to highlight the important historical contributions of the ACP regions in the creation of the ICC.

“In 1989, Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of the Caribbean Community, called upon the 44th Session of the UN General Assembly to consider the establishment of an international criminal court; and in February 1999, Senegal became the first state party to ratify the Rome Statute” she recalled.

“Exchanges such as the one we are having today assist to raise awareness and increase understanding of international humanitarian law and international justice, including the ICC and its functioning. It is critically important to address persistent misperceptions, and facilitate dialogue thereon.” She added.

In addition to clarifying the lack of understanding on the role and jurisdictions of the International Criminal Court, the session also allowed the Prosecutor to discuss openly and exchange views with ACP Representatives on a wide range of topics.

The principle of complementarity, meaning that states retain their primacy of jurisdiction and bear first responsibility to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes; and the principle of cooperation, requiring all states that have joined the Statute to comply with the Court’s requests for assistance and support in the context of its investigations, were amongst the topics discussed. The discussions further focused on the need for States to reinforce the capacity of their criminal justice systems to address serious crimes at the national level.

Several Representatives expressed their full support for the Court and the work of the Office of the Prosecutor. They commended Prosecutor Bensouda's unyielding commitment to the cause of international criminal justice and to continuing to fulfil her mandate, with full independence and impartiality, wherever the Court has jurisdiction.

Dr Fatou Bensouda is the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, having been elected in 2011 by consensus by the Assembly of States Parties. Dr Bensouda was nominated and supported as the sole African candidate for election to the post by the African Union. She is the first woman to assume the position. Previously, she served as the Court’s first Deputy Prosecutor (2004 to May 2012), Senior Legal Advisor and Head of the Legal Advisory Unit of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (2002 to 2004), and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of The Gambia, inter alia.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Dr Bensouda has been listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2012 and 2017), by the New African magazine as one of the “Most Influential Africans”; by Foreign Policy as one of the “Leading Global Thinkers” (2013) & by Jeune Afrique as one of “50 African women who, by their actions & initiatives in their respective roles, advance the African continent (2014 & 2015).”

(Dr Fatou Bensouda Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and Dr Patrick I. Gomes Secretary General of the ACP Group of States)

Statement of Dr. Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor, 24 January 2019

Video:Statement of Dr. Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor, 24 January 2019

ACP Press Office